Skip Global navigation and goto content

It's a New Day in Public Health.

The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

Skip MegaMenu and goto content
Megamenu requires javascript to be enabled in your browser.


Contact the Maternal and Child Health Section

  •  850-245-4465



    Mailing Address

    Maternal and Child Health Section 

    4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A13 

    Tallahassee, FL 32399 

The Florida Department of Health knows that the ability to read, write, and understand numbers is a basic component to maintaining good health and eliminating health disparities. 

baby boy reading a book on a bedHow important is literacy?
Early literacy is important to later academic success. The better a child's language development is before entering school, the more likely they are to be successful in school.


Why should I read to my infant or toddler?
Reading and playing with books is a wonderful way to spend special time with your baby. Hearing words over and over helps your baby become familiar with them. Reading to your baby is one of the best ways to help your baby learn.

Talking to your infant and toddler helps them learn to speak and understand the meaning of words. Pointing to objects in books and describing them as you read will help build their vocabulary. Having a large vocabulary gives a child a great start when they enter school.

How do I choose books for my children?

  • For infants, choose books that are brightly colored.  Babies put everything in their mouth so choose books that are designed for infants and are made of cardboard, cloth, or plastic.

    Mother reading a book with her daughter
  • Toddlers are learning to explore.  During this stage, choose books that have lots of pictures that you can point out and name. Books that make sounds, move or have different textures are also great.
  • Once your child is at preschool age, help your child choose books that are interesting to them. Listen to your child as they are playing, having conversations, or asking questions, to learn what they like.

  • Once your child starts reading on their own, help your child find age appropriate books that are not too difficult so they are successful at reading.

To locate a local library near you, please visit Florida Public Libraries.

For reading tips, activities and downloadable print off sheets, please visit Just Read, Families! and the Books Build Connections Toolkit websites.

How can I get my children more involved in reading?

  • Have regularly scheduled time for reading to your child.  This can be at bedtime every night or in the morning on the weekends. Your child will come to expect this special time with you.

  • Create a special, quiet area for your child to read, draw and write. Mother and father helping their daughter with homeworkHave books within reach so your child can easily get to them.

  • Turn the television off to reduce distractions from reading.

  • When you leave home, take books with you to help entertain your child while you travel or go to appointments.

  • Children model their parents so if your child sees you reading, they will be more likely to read.  

What if I have trouble reading?
There is help!  There are adult education and literacy programs in your area that are free or low cost.  Click on the link below to find a program in your area.